Bat­tler ‘taken way too soon’

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - RACHAEL COMER

The fam­ily of for­mer Ti­maru wo­man Hope Collings want her to be re­mem­bered as the ‘‘spe­cial per­son’’ she was.

Hope, 23, died at Nurse Maude Hospice, in Christchurch, on Tues­day, af­ter bat­tling acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia for the third time since the age of 14.

She be­gan al­ter­na­tive treat­ment in Auck­land in Au­gust af­ter de­clin­ing to re­ceive in­tense chemo­ther­apy, ra­di­a­tion and a bone mar­row trans­plant.

Her mother Julie Collings set up a Givealit­tle page which raised $21,675 for Hope to have the treat­ment.

A state­ment from the fam­ily re­leased on Fri­day says they felt lucky to have had Hope in their lives.

‘‘Many may say that my beau­ti­ful girl Hope has been taken way too soon and see un­fair­ness in all of this.

‘‘Hope’s life was never about her ill­ness and she never made it, or wanted it to be.’’

The fam­ily said Hope had been ‘‘truly some­thing spe­cial from the start’’.

‘‘She went down­hill rapidly,’’ Collings said.

In Au­gust Hope said she had ac­cepted her fate was un­known, but she still held out hope.

‘‘I have ac­cepted that there are both sides to it,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m not hold­ing on to the thought of dy­ing so I can in­stead fo­cus on any other al­ter­na­tives.’’

When Hope was first di­ag­nosed with cancer she lived with her fam­ily in Ti­maru and of­ten trav­elled to Christchurch for treat­ment. She went into re­mis­sion but the cancer came back about three years later.

At 18 she and her mother and twin sis­ter Alice moved to Christchurch.

She fought off the dis­ease again but when she was 22, af­ter al­most three years in re­mis­sion, Hope was told by doc­tors the cancer had re­turned.

Hope had also said how hard it had been to watch her health strug­gles im­pact­ing on her fam­ily.

‘‘It’s so heart-wrench­ing see­ing them be­ing af­fected by all of this,’’ she said.

A grave­side ser­vice to cel­e­brate Hope’s life will be held in Christchurch on Mon­day.

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